My very own birthday CD

by | Mar 31, 2010 | Julie | 16 comments

Every year (since Eli turned 1, at least), I make the boys a CD on their birthdays. It has all their favorite songs of the year, plus bits of them singing or telling jokes or just babbling. A few weeks ago I realized I had amassed a bunch of free downloads that I loved or found songs on Pandora that I loved, and that maybe it was time to make myself a birthday CD (without, however, me singing or telling jokes). Basically I just wanted to listen to all these good new songs in the kitchen while making dinner.

Here’s what I’ve got:

1. Belated Promise Ring – Iron & Wine. Oh, I love this song. This song is the whole reason I made the CD, really. I got this as a free download at some point, and just wanted to listen to it over and over. Only took me about 700 listens to realize it’s about a guy who is in love with his lesbian friend.

2. Longform – The Dodos. Another free download. Somehow I can never remember how this song goes, but when I’m listening to it, it seems like the catchiest thing ever.

3. I Don’t Know What It Is – Rufus Wainwright. Love this. I have absolutely no idea what it’s about. Mysterious bruises? Trains? Trying to get your life in order? Love it anyway.

4. All My Days – Alexi Murdoch. Dave and I watched “Away We Go” wondering how there could be so many Nick Drake songs we’d never heard before. Turns out it was Alexi Murdoch. I like the whole soundtrack, but this is my favorite song.

5. Stray Age – Daniel Martin Moore. A guy and a guitar. I’ll confess I’ve never actually listened to the lyrics. Could be about eating high fructose corn syrup for all I know.

6. Willow TreeChad VanGaalen. Guy with falsetto, singing about death. This song sounds like 70% of the songs I played on my radio show in college.

7. Hallelujah – Rufus Wainwright. I think I tried to download this song once, and you had to buy the whole Shrek soundtrack to get it, so I didn’t. But then it showed up as a free download on Amazon. I love this song, as well as the original, as well as pretty much every other version I’ve ever heard. Leonard Cohen is a god.

8. Hideaway – The Weepies. Who are The Weepies? If all their songs are this good, I need a whole album.

9. Friends – Lightning Love. A peppy little song about binge drinking and blackouts.

10. Hug the Harbour – Emma Pollock. Hypnotic and Beth Orton-y.

11. Turn Cold – Cut Off Your Hands. This song doesn’t quite go with the others, but it sounds like the Cure and New Order, and therefore I nostalgically love it.

12. Astair Matt Costa. Oh, this is a good one. I want to sing the refrain all day long, but it’s one of those songs that I’m not actually good at singing out loud very well. Ah, well.

13. 10,000 Stones – Adrianne. This song sounds a little like the music from a pharmaceutical ad, or maybe the theme song for an hour-long drama about women in their 40s. But maybe that’s the mindset I’m in right now. I like it.

14. Comin’ Up RosesZeile August. Zeile is a bona fide friend of mine. When she made her first album, Orion’s Belt, I was suddenly gripped by an unnatural fear that I would hate it. What do you do when a really good friend of yours makes an album you don’t like? But within four notes of the opening song, I knew all would be ok. “Comin’ Up Roses” is from her second album (Lucie’s Hobo Package) — I first heard the song when I went to hear her at what used to be Javanet. Afterwards I think I said something semi-coherent like, “I really liked that song about Papa not believing in magic” and she remembered that, and months later when the CD came out told me it opened with that song I liked (note that it’s the opening song because it’s a great song, not because I like it). I like all the songs, honestly, but “Comin’ Up Roses” and “Big Red Truck” from the first album are my perennial faves. I am especially loving the line in this one lately about “Give me a drink of water/or maybe something stronger.” Sounds good. New CD out in April! Can’t wait!

15. Buckets of Rain – Redbird. This was one from Pandora. I am usually massively against Bob Dylan covers, because, I mean, come on, are you really going to do better? But something about this one I really, really liked. After I downloaded it, I saw that Redbird is a band with Kris Delmhorst in it, who is not a bona fide friend of mine, but she is someone I’ve met in person before, and she’s super duper nice, plus I like her music. Anyway.

16. You and I – Ingrid Michaelson. How can you not love a song with the chorus, “Let’s get rich and give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance”?


  1. Clog

    Happy Birthday Lu!!

  2. Lisa van Oosterum

    Oh my god, this looks great. If I come by with chocolate today can I get a copy of this??? Happy Birthday!!

  3. Julie

    Lisa, it’s a deal! 🙂

  4. bethany actually

    Loved the movie Away We Go, love “Astair.” I’m sure you’ve heard of Pomplamoose Music because I think everyone has seen their videosong cover of “Single Ladies” by now…but in case you have not, you should check them out. At the very least your kids will enjoy the videos (especially “September,” which features a puppet) and their original music is great too.

    Happy birthday!

  5. Anne

    Happy birthday! What a great-sounding mix, and 100% agreed on Hallelujah/Leonard Cohen. (If I mail you chocolate, can I get a copy?)

  6. Elizabeth

    Happy Birthday, Julie! I always remember your birthday because it’s my sister’s birthday today, too. Have a wonderful one…Enjoy the rest of your thirties! 🙂

  7. LoriO

    Happy Birthday! Can’t wait to get home from work tonight an listen to samples of your tracks. I’m always looking for new music.

  8. Christina

    Happy Birthday! Hope it’s a wonderful year. We just watched Away We Go two nights ago…

  9. Aunt Sandra

    We hope you are having a wonderful birthday, Julie, and have a chance to put your feet up and enjoy your day!

  10. Lisa van Oosterum

    “Lets get rich and build a house on a mountain making everybody look like ass”.

  11. Julie

    Ha ha, Lisa: I think it’s “making everybody look like ANTS.”

  12. Patrick

    Happy belated berfday…And I think I have heard of 2 people on this cd, and only one song…I needs to do some investigatin’.

  13. Julie

    Patrick (and Anne) — I can just send you a CD.

  14. Robyn

    I am so glad you were born. And I’m not just saying that because I want a copy of your CD. But I do, and I am.

  15. Emily

    How did I not know that you and my MOM have the same birthday? WEll, two of my favorite people, almost-april-fools. Happy Happy birthday period, as we say in my family (you get two weeks on either side). My mom wants a tent from my dad for her birthday, and I said where are you going to get it? and she said, I thought I’d go to LLbean! and I said, in FREEPORT? and she said, brightly, yeah! which made me feel, suddenly, that ME was not so far away…

  16. Julie

    Em, the 31st is Ian’s mom’s birthday too. And you did know that your mom and I had the same birthday, or, at least, your mom and I knew. That’s why she gave me that monoprint that’s hanging in our guest bedroom (or whatever that room is now) of the big lady dancing.

    And ME is NOT that far away. I’m still trying to entice you to come here for vacation this summer.


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